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Physiological cell types in the posterior lateral line lobes of weakly electric fish: Neural correlates of electrolocation under jamming

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Summary

Central electroreceptive units involved with object detection were studied in two species of weakly electric fish,Sternopygus andEigenmannia. Species-typical differences in the electrolocation behavior under jamming suggested that the underlying central mechanisms might also be different between the two species. Three physiological cell types recorded in the posterior lateral line lobe (pLLL), a first-order electrosensory brain area, are described:

  1. 1.

    Types I and II cells, found in both species, do not discriminate between amplitude modulations associated with the fish's electric field that are object-related or jamming-(= beat) related. When an object and a jamming signal are presented together, the responses to the object are masked by the overriding responses to the beatrelated amplitude modulations associated with the jamming signals. Responses of Types I and II cells provide a neural correlate to jammed electrolocation previously shown forEigenmannia. Quantitative differences in the relative beat sensitivity and response latencies exist between Types I and II found inSternopygus andEigenmannia.

  2. 2.

    Type III cells, so far found only in the p LLL ofSternopygus do distinguish between object-related and beat-related amplitude modulations associated with the fish's electric field. This distinction is possible on the basis of stimulus size: object-related amplitude modulations produce small-field distortions whereas beat-related amplitude modulations produce large-field distortions in the fish's electric field. The receptive field of Type III cells consists of two adjacent zones. Stimulation of both zones, such as during the presentation of a large-field jamming signal produces very little net effect on these cells, whereas sequential stimulation of first one zone and then the other, such as during the presentation of a moving object, elicits responses from Type III cells. Hence, when both a moving object and a jamming signal are presented together, Type III cells respond only to the moving object. Thus, Type III cells exhibit responses, which, like the behavior ofSternopygus, may be labelled as non-jammable.

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Abbreviations

ARH :

average response histogram

c.v. :

coefficient of variation

EOD :

electric organ discharge

JAR :

jamming avoidance response

pLLL :

posterior lateral line lobe

References

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Matsubara, J.A. Physiological cell types in the posterior lateral line lobes of weakly electric fish: Neural correlates of electrolocation under jamming. J. Comp. Physiol. 149, 339–351 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00619150

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Keywords

  • Brain Area
  • Amplitude Modulation
  • Response Latency
  • Receptive Field
  • Lateral Line